Chances are you've been hearing some buzzing about Beetles lately. Specifically, beetles of the blue variety. There's a great reason for this: the long-awaited Blue Beetle movie is finally on its way and giving everyone the chance to come face to face with the man himself, Jaime Reyes. Of course, Jaime isn't the only one to take on the Blue Beetle mantle within the DC Universe, but he might be the most unique in the lineup. So, with that in mind, let's take a moment to get to know him!
Jaime was created all the way back in 2006 as part of the Infinite Crisis event, a massive cosmic catastrophe that threw the multiverse into chaos and left multiple heroes either dead or temporarily out of commission. One such hero happened to be Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle. Now, Ted was a superhero to be absolutely clear, but he wasn't the kind with any special powers or abilities. Instead, Ted was something more along the lines of an adventurer and inventor—less Superman, more Batman (but with a sense of humor, as Jaime’s uncle puts it in the movie). More than anything else, Ted relied on his fortune and his brains to fight for the good of the planet.
This was decidedly not the case for Jaime, who actually wound up becoming Blue Beetle by accident. You see, prior to Ted, there was another Blue Beetle named Dan Garrett, who, for a time, actually received powers and abilities from a magical scarab amulet he found on an archeological expedition. This particular bit of continuity was, over time, shuffled around and almost excised entirely, until Infinite Crisis and Jaime presented an opportunity to bring it back with a few new twists.
During Jaime's introduction (in Infinite Crisis #3, specifically!), it was revealed that Dan's magical scarab was, in fact, not magical at all, but alien. After a minor mishap involving Shazam, the scarab was blasted across the globe to land, seemingly at random, in El Paso, Texas where Jaime found it and unwittingly became its host. And we do mean that literally. Though it was dormant for years following its time spent with Dan Garrett, the active scarab was able to fuse with Jaime's spine after he found it, rendering itself impossible to remove.
As you might imagine, this presented some major complications. For one, this was never something Jaime signed up for, and also, the scarab seemed to have an agenda all its own. Thankfully, part of that agenda seemed to be keeping Jaime himself alive as its symbiotic host, so it all worked out in the end.
As for that, perhaps the most iconic move the scarab has to keep Jaime safe is manifesting a sort of "exoskeleton" around him, which just so happens to be a pitch perfect superhero costume. The suit is reminiscent of the Blue Beetles of bygone eras, but with a decidedly more extraterrestrial spin. And this isn't the only trick the scarab has up its proverbial sleeve—it can morph and shift the exoskeleton into any manner of useful tools like wings, weapons and shields, perfect for an up-and-coming superhero.
And becoming a superhero is exactly what Jaime did with these newfound abilities. Though his partnership and symbiosis with the scarab is sometimes a little bit fraught (and a lot dangerous), over the years Jaime has come to love and embrace his life as a hero, teaming up with groups like the Teen Titans (and the animated incarnation of Young Justice), getting advice from people like Superman, and even working with his Blue Beetle predecessor Ted Kord to help unravel the mysteries surrounding his powers.
If you're looking for some light reading to get to know Jaime a bit more before you fly to theaters on August 18th to watch his big screen debut, you're in luck! There are plenty of places to start available right now on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. We'd recommend Blue Beetle: Shellshocked, Blue Beetle: The More Things Change and Blue Beetle: Graduation Day as great places to start!
Blue Beetle, directed by Angel Manuel Soto and starring Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, lands in theaters this Friday, August 18th. Visit our official Blue Beetle hub for more news, features and videos about our newest big-screen hero!
Mason Downey writes about comics, movies and superhero history for DC.com. Look for more of his work on GameSpot, IGN and Polygon and follow him on Twitter at @rustypolished.